A country of numerous islands with a proud maritime history, Denmark large numbers of tourists each year. Linked to nearby Sweden via a vast bridge, it is easily reached from other parts of Scandinavia, making it a popular stop off for those visiting the region. Its larger more developed cities – including the capital of Copenhagen – boast a quintessential café street culture, while a sprinkling of small charming towns and villages exude a fairytale-esque appearance that could be straight out of a book by legendary Danish author Hans Christian Anderses.
Denmark plays host to a large number of popular festivals and fairs each year, many of which take place in the bustling capital city. If you’re planning to visit the country and would like to attend any of these events during your stay, we’ve created a comprehensive run-down of 20 that you won’t want to miss.
Sorte Firkant Festival
Held at several city venues all within easy reach of each other, with the bulk of the action taking place at the Sorte Firkant cocktail bar and cultural venue located on Blågårdsplads square, this small alternative music festival has burgeoned in popularity over the years. Its focus is on providing a platform for up-and-coming artists from Denmark and beyond, as well as more established performers, all specialising in niche music genres, particularly of the extreme and ear-piercing variety.
LOCATION Venues across Copenhagen DATES 14-16 January 2021
Copenhagen Fashion Week
Held twice a year to coincide with the winter and summer seasons, Copenhagen Fashion Week is widely considered the region’s largest and most important event dedicated to fashion. The four-day fashion showcase sees media, buyers and ‘influencers’ descend on the capital for catwalk shows, presentations and other events, all designed to promote designers and their apparel. In recent years the event has added an increased focus on sustainable fashion.
LOCATION Venues across Copenhagen DATES 2-5 February 2021
Copenhagen Light Festival
Copenhagen Light Festival fills the February darkness in Copenhagen with life and light. In the streets, in squares and in small nooks – with respect for the darkness and without depriving the cozy winter atmosphere of the old town. The light art at the festival is created by Danish and international artists. Copenhagen, which is one of Europe’s darkest cities, is the perfect canvas for poetic, temporary spaces – where before there was darkness, there is now a luminous experience. The event integrates the light works around Copenhagen, and with special focus on the harbour, canals and squares in the Inner City.
LOCATION Venues across Copenhagen DATES 5-27 February
Internet Week Denmark
While the growth of the internet has not come without its concerns, few would deny that the information revolution it has sparked has had a transformative effect on our everyday lives. Back in 2013, Internet Week Denmark was held for the first time in the beautiful harbour city of Aarhus, created to celebrate the power of this all-encompassing new technology. Today it has expanded to focus on where the technology could take us, with visitors from across the country and beyond coming together to share knowledge and exchange perspectives on how we should shape the digital age. There are over 100 events including presentations, talks, workshops and discussions that take place at venues across the city.
LOCATION Venues across Aarhus DATES 4-9 May 2021
Copenhagen Beer Festival
Denmark has a well-established and thriving beer brewing scene, with Carlsberg being the country’s most famous export. Every year the Copenhagen Beer Festival celebrates the nation’s penchant for amber nectar by bringing together thousands of enthusiasts in a giant banquet hall for tastings, along with music shows and other fun-packed events. Visitors can choose from more than 100 beer types, hailing from both home and aboard, as well as learn about the beer-making process from produces and other experts in attendance.
LOCATION Lokomotiværkstedet, Copenhagen DATES 13-15 May 2021
Featuring a jam-packed programme of buzzing street parties, Distortion Festival sees a superb line-up of performers playing multiple musical genres for five full days. The atmosphere is simply incredible, with Copenhagen’s streets turning themselves over to musicians, DJs and other top class acts, with over 100,000 revellers in attendance for the unique public event.
LOCATION Venues throughout Copenhagen DATES 2-6 June 2021
Since its inaugural edition back in 2010 it’s fair to say that Northside Festival has come a very long way. Having begun as a one-day event featuring mainly local acts, today it takes place over 3 full days on the greenfield festival grounds at Eskelund, near Aarhus, where it hosts a stellar cast of international pop and rock artists across three stages, along with several sideshow events that add to the entertainment and general revellery.
LOCATION NorthSide, Viby DATES 3-5 June 2021
Copenhagen Photo Festival
Discover photography from selected artists across the world and emerging Nordic talents at the Copenhagen Photo Festival. Created for those who want to go beyond the traditional frame – grasping contemporary and future conceptions – where experimentation and sustainability are the keywords at the festival centre located on Refshaleøen, an island in Copenhagen where culture occurs in all its forms, with the Copenhagen Contemporary, Reffen – a Street Food Market, theatres and cultural events that attract international audiences. The largest Nordic photography festival offers exhibitions, workshops, talks and much more throughout the city in galleries, museums, institutions,
LOCATION Villa Kultur, Copenhagen DATES 3-13 June 2021
One of Denmark’s first open-air heavy metal festivals after debuting in 2010, Copenhell is a raucous celebration of metal music, with lashings of bands, beer and bravado. Held close to the centre of Copenhagen on the island of Refshaleøen, the event has gained international recognition, with both established names and lesser known acts appearing on the festival’s three live stages. Notable bands to have featured in recent years include Prophets of Rage, System of a Down, Slayer and Five Finger Death Punch.
LOCATION Refshaleøen, Copenhagen DATES 16-19 June 2021
Music festival Roskilde has been a fixture on Europe’s summer festival circuit since 1971. Big names have performed on Roskilde’s stages, including Fat Boy Slim, The Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. Billed as a “week-long celebration of togetherness and community”, the festival is also the largest music and arts festival in Northern Europe. Visitors can choose between a one-day or a full-festival ticket.
LOCATION Roskilde DATES 26 June – 3 July 2021
Copenhagen Jazz Festival
One of the city’s oldest festivals, Copenhagen Jazz Festival was founded in 1979 when the jazz scene in Copenhagen was at its height. All the greats have taken to the stage in the festival’s 42-year history, from Miles Davies to Thelonious Monk to Herbie Hancock. Today, the event takes place in more than 100 venues across the city – in clubs, concert halls and open-air venues. With more than 1,000 concerts to choose from, visitors can enjoy a variety of performances, from local emerging artists to international blockbuster performers.
LOCATION Venues across Copenhagen DATES 2-11 July 2021
Heralded as Denmark’s ‘most beautiful festival’, Smukfest takes place in the atmospheric beech forest of Skanderborg Dyrehave. Returning every summer, it’s a scenic escape that caters to nearly every musical taste. Smukfest’s four stages have hosted everyone from Britney Spears to Eric Clapton. There are plenty of hotel rooms close by, but the dedicated camping area is the most magical and memorable way to enjoy the festival. Don’t miss the event’s mascot, FestiWalther – a music loving forest troll born in 1579.
LOCATION Skanderborg DATES 4-8 August 2021
Copenhagen Summer Festival
Located in Charlottenborg, the beautiful Dutch baroque mansion in the city centre, the Copenhagen Summer Festival is one of the country’s most important chamber music concerts. The festival aims to give young, emerging talent a springboard to classical music stardom, and many established performers made their name on the stage here. By pairing high-profile artists with young talent, audiences are given a unique insight into how the art of chamber music evolves. The annual festival usually takes place over 12 days, featuring 12 classical chamber music recitals.
LOCATION Charlottenborg, Copenhagen DATES 8-19 August 2021
Copenhagen WorldPride & EuroGames
Copenhagen 2021 combines WorldPride with EuroGames in the most significant LGBTI+ event of the year. With hundreds of events in Copenhagen and Malmö, there’s a major focus on Pride, arts, sports and human rights, free nightly concerts and exclusive signature parties, and 750,000 LGBTI+ visitors from across the globe. Denmark and Sweden are regularly voted the best countries in the world to be LGBTI+ and you’re guaranteed a warm welcome. Find out more at copenhagen2021.com.
LOCATION Venues across Copenhagen & Malmö DATES 12-22 August 2021
Since its debut edition some forty years ago, Tønder Festival has expanded into one of Europe’s most respected folk/roots music festivals. The four-day event features a packed programme of world class music, together with a huge choice of food, on-site camping and plenty more. But more than anything, the festival’s organisers take pride in the sense of authenticity they have fostered, both in the music showcased and the way that performers are encouraged to interact and engage with crowd, often departing the stage to busk around the venue or take part in jamming sessions with attendees. www.tf.dk.
LOCATION Tønder DATES 26-29 August 2021
Established way back in 1965, Aarhus Festival has grown into both an event of international standing and a major landmark on Denmark’s cultural calendar. Taking place over 10 days each summer, the family-friendly festival sees prestigious cultural activities held across Aarhus. The event even has royal patronage, with the Queen of Denmark opening the festival each year. But its popularity extends far beyond celebrity appearances, with up to 900,000 visitors flocking to venues throughout the city – Including clubs, stages, museums, galleries and even streets to immerse themselves in cultural genres ranging from art, theatre and architecture to music, dance, gastronomy, and everything in between.
LOCATION Venues across Aarhus DATES 27 August-5 September 2021
Food Festival Aarhus
Every year Aarhus hosts the largest food festival in Denmark. Held in conjunction with the acclaimed Aarhus Festival, more than 30,000 visitors flock here for the gastronomic celebration, which showcases the myriad flavours, innovations and dishes of Nordic culture. As well as lectures, tastings, and workshops with leading chefs, guests can cast their votes in the annual Danish Hot Dog Championship. For an extra cost, you could also join ‘The People’s Feast’ – a supersized dinner party set at an extra-long dining table with eight different zones.
Hans Christian Andersen Festival
Light, sound, art, music, imagination and surprise – that’s just some of what to expect at the Hans Christian Andersen Festival. A week-long festival that takes place in late August every year, it brings the city of Odense to life as it puts on than 500 cultural and musical events and activities for people of all ages, all in celebration of the city’s most famous son, Hans Christian Andersen.
In Odense’s streets, parks and buildings, you’ll find theatre performances, street art, concerts, international shows, art exhibitions, storytelling, street performances and much more. Most of the events are free to enter.
LOCATION Venues across Odense DATES August 2021
LOCATION Tangkrogen, Aarhus DATES 3-5 September 2021
Waves Festival is Denmark’s longest running festival of contemporary international visual performance and theatre arts. The bi-annual summer event combines a ticketed indoor and free street performance programme, showcasing the latest and most exciting trends in theatre, dance, comedy and performance art. Previous acts have included everything from satirical interpretations of Romeo and Juliet to immersive performances set inside a luminous reconstruction of the moon. The festival also features a programme of dialogue, workshops and networking for professionals called Waves Xtra.
LOCATION Vordingborg DATES 9-11 September 2021
Christmas Fair in Tivioli Gardens
In Copenhagen, the Christmas season can’t start without a visit to the city’s world-famous theme park. From mid-November to late-December, the park gets a Yuletide makeover, replete with more than 500,000 twinkling lights. The impressive 82,00 square metre gardens are transformed into a buzzing Christmas market, with Christmas trees, alpine-inspired stalls and festive performances. Traditional rides like the Alpine Express merry-go-round will keep little ones occupied while adults tuck into spiced baked treats and mulled wine.
LOCATION Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen DATES December 2021